I previously asked a similar question in this site, about connections between the imagery in the Creation and the Flood stories in Genesis. Now I would like to know if anyone who can access the original Hebrew can help me with a less supported link I also perceive: that between Noah’s Ark, which holds all of the animal and human life left after the flood, and the ark that held baby Moses. (Moses, perhaps, can now mean the “hope” for the survival of the Jewish people, a new beginning for them, or himself as their God?) I first noticed that the vessel that conveyed Moses, in Exodus, 2, was called an “ark” and that it was covered with pitch, just as Noah’s Ark was:

2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. 3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. (kjv)

Let us compare the above with Genesis 6:14

Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. (kjv)

Does the original Hebrew make any references to Moses being the “life” of his people or as being God-like enough to link up with the Spirit of God, of Genesis 1:2?

2 Answers 2


Actually, the first think to notice is the word "ark" תֵּבָה (tebah) which occurs 28 times in the OT - 26 times as Noah's ark and twice as Moses' ark. It occurs no where else.

[NOTE - the ark of the covenant is a quite different word.]

For this reason the stories have a number of strong parallels such as:

  • Both have the ark as a means of saving a people
  • Both need to float on water
  • Both are water-proofed with pitch
  • Both are the means or mechanism of god's miraculous salvation
  • Both are the means of enabling a people to leave one place to be saved in another place
  • Following both experiences of salvation, a divine covenant is established, one with all humanity (Gen 8 & 9) and one with the chosen people (Ex 19-23)

... and so forth

  • They both also save one person from the slaughter of many. Nice list.
    – Gus L.
    Mar 10, 2021 at 11:12

The thematic similarities raise an eyebrow, but the language is different.

  1. Moses's mother does not receive a divine commandment. Noah does.
  2. Moses's mother "takes" an ark, whereas Noah "makes" an ark
  3. Moses's ark is made of bulrushes, Noah's of Gofer wood
  4. Moses's ark is sealed apparently on one side only, Noah's inside and out
  5. Moses's ark is sealed with two materials, Noah's with one
  6. Both of the sealants of Moses's are are different materials than used by Noah
  7. Moses's ark is placed in the reeds at the water's edge, not in the water. Noah's ark floats.
  8. In Moses's case the term water is not used. In Noah's, there is "rain", "flood", and "water".

So, of the many words used in each of these two passages, the word "ark" is in common, but that's about it. "Water" is mentioned almost as an afterthought in the modrash shem, the folk etymology of Moses's name.

In Exodus 2, Moses is described throughout in terms of an abandoned child. The language is completely de-mythologized. At no point in Exodus is Moses described as a divine figure. Exalted, but no divinity. All of the miracles he performs are clearly shown as being done by God. There is no additional imagery in the Hebrew of the MT that you don't see in the common English translations. No language to the effect of being "the life" of anyone.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.